Thursday, June 19, 2014

Interview with Author of TORN CANVAS, Donna K. Weaver

Okay, so I'm here with author and friend Donna K. Weaver for her blog tour of TORN CANVAS! I cornered her and asked her some questions, and I can't wait to share them with you.

1. So TORN CANVAS is a sequel. Or a companion? Tell us about the first book, A CHANGE OF PLANS, and how TORN CANVAS fits into the series.
It's a companion novel since it has different main characters. It actually begins about 80 pages into A CHANGE OF PLANS, the first book in the Safe Harbors Series, when the main characters of the two books part ways (by force, due to those dang modern-day pirates). Lyn and Braedon from ACoP end up missing at sea, while Jori from TORN CANVAS is rescued and returned to American Samoa where their cruise ship had been docked.

Jori, a hot model, receives a wicked face wound during the fight with the pirates. Kind of messes up his life. He's a bit of mess anyway, something his beauty hid. In TORN CANVAS, we follow him through his journey of healing, both physically and emotionally. Toward the end, we get to see Lyn again. TC finishes a few days after the end of A CHANGE OF PLANS.

Some of the challenge with this story is that anyone who's read A CHANGE OF PLANS knows that Jori doesn't actually meet the love interest, Olivia Howard, until nearly the end of the book. Since the two books follow almost the same timeline, Jori's growing relationship with Olivia is a very different kind. And considering his character arc, that distance is important.

There's also a short story/novelette, HOPE'S WATCH, which is set during that week in American Samoa when the Coast Guard is searching for the missing catamaran. The main character is Elle, Lyn's best friend and cabinmate on the cruise. Jori, while he's in the hospital, gets a small role. It's a nice lead in to TORN CANVAS.

2. When did you write TORN CANVAS? What's one scene that you can still remember drafting for the first time?
TORN CANVAS was my NaNoWriMo project in 2012. (Yes! I love NaNo novels that get published!) I like to do my first draft fast, so I love the NaNo experience. Once I have my outline (that first, very rough draft), I can take my time to work through the story some more before I send it to my beta readers. My editor had some great suggestions, so I ended up doing a major rewrite to add Olivia's point of view.

A memorable scene, for me, is one that's actually the basis for the book's cover picture. When Jori loses his looks and has to pursue another career, he decides to try art which he had studied in college. The following scene is when Jori's interviewing with the man who becomes his art agent:

“Did you like modeling?”

“No.” Jori reminded himself this was an interview for a job. “Because it’s fake.”

“How so?” Mr. Schulze raised his brows.

Opening his mouth, Jori paused and snapped it shut, not sure how to put it into words. “That didn’t come out very well. I don’t mean to dis digital artists. I should have said it’s not real.” Jori leaned forward in his seat, clenching his fists. “It was all make believe. They would dress us up and use makeup to enhance us and when that wasn’t enough …,” Jori scowled, “and it was never enough, they would edit the pictures.”

“Not real?” Mr. Schulze shifted in his chair, a hint of disdain in his narrowed eyes. “How is that any different than, say, a Picasso?”

“Picasso knew people recognized his painting as his artistic interpretation, his abstract vision. That’s not what my modeling photos were about.” Jori flicked a finger at the pictures on the desk, unable to keep the anger from his voice. “That’s fine, as long as everyone knows that what they’re looking at is fantasy.”

“But these photographs are to sell a product.”

Rising, Jori riffled through the glossies until he found an especially sexy one of him in a loose bowtie hanging with an open dress shirt. It hung over his tanned and ripped chest and abdomen, his designer slacks riding low on his hips. He remembered the oil on his skin to make it shine—and the waxing to remove every speck of body hair.

Jori stabbed the picture with his finger. “Yes, they’re to sell a product, but they’re also selling a logical fallacy. ‘Buy this shirt and you can be as hot as Jori Virtanen.’ Hell. Even Jori Virtanen could never be that hot.” He pointed to his cheek. “Even before this.” Jori went silent and dropped his hand, his flushed cheeks making the still tender scar burn a little. “Sorry.”

3. How much research have you had to do for the series? Or are you a seawoman at heart?
I do a lot research, though I was a Navy brat growing up, so I've had a lot of opportunities to see places. By the time I was 13, I'd sailed the Pacific three times and lived in Asia nearly five years. I've never been to American Samoa--though I want to visit there very badly now--but I have lived in the Philippines and been to Hawaii many times, including spending the summer I was 16 there. I know the tropics well.

4. When you're looking to decompress by reading, what book do you reach for?
That kind of depends upon my mood at the time. Since I write adventure romance, I find myself picking up more romances lately. (I've also written but not yet published a YA fantasy series and I'm working on a SciFi trilogy--all with heavy romantic elements.) (Publish these, Donna! Stat!)

I've always preferred my romances with a dish of something else; that's why I write adventure romances or romantic suspense. One of my favorites is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The story, set right after the end of WWII, touches on some heavy topics but manages to be uplifting and a delight to read.

If I'm not in the mood for a book with a heavy romantic element, I can pick up anything by Brandon Sanderson and get lost in his stories. The man's writing is amazing and complex.

5. If you could be a contestant on Survivor, what's the one item you'd take with you?
After all the research I had to do for the shipwreck section in A CHANGE OF PLANS, I realized that I would only need one thing in order to survive in a survival situation--my husband. He is Mr. Handy.

Somehow, though, I don't think the producers for Survivor would let me bring him. I'd have to be satisfied with a Swiss Army Knife. Very versatile.

6. A guilty pleasure?
Don't tell my husband. He hates zombie anything--he's so tender hearted. We watched the first episode of WALKING DEAD, and he was ready to turn it off when the main character had to shoot a child zombie while the opening credits were still running. (I'm with your husband. I tried Walking Dead -- didn't make it through the first episode.) I made him watch the rest of the episode, but he was so done. I haven't done it yet, but I think I'm going to go back and watch a few more episodes when he's not around. We left the main character in a terrible situation, after all. :D

7. Bacon or chocolate?
This is easy for me. I know you're a huge bacon fan. Me, not so much. (Oh no! It's okay, we can still be friends!) It's okay sometimes. So chocolate for me. DARK chocolate.

Isn't she the best! She totally is. Here's a bit more about her and her book, TORN CANVAS.

About TORN CANVAS: Modern-day pirates took more than Jori Virtanen’s friends; they stole his face. Not only does the twenty-four-year-old former model have to confront months of reconstructive surgery, he discovers his previous life was as superficial as his looks. Jori struggles to make a new life for himself as an artist while evading the press. They expect a hero, but he knows the truth. His beauty masks a beast.

Olivia Howard’s given up a normal life for her job, and the sacrifices are finally paying off. The twenty-six-year-old talk-show host’s ratings are heading to the top of the charts. Her dream is to make a difference in people’s lives, but the studio wants mind fluff—like interviewing hot model Jori Virtanen. When Olivia learns the guy helped rescue passengers on a cruise excursion from kidnappers, she knows this is the story she needs to make her case. The only problem is the hero was injured, and now he’s disappeared.

The more Olivia learns about the man behind the scar, the more intrigued she becomes. But Jori is no girl’s happily ever after. Once she finds him, Olivia has to free his heart and help heal the beast.


About Donna: Author of the Safe Harbors series and Second Chances 101, Book 5 in the Ripple Effect series. A wife, mother, grandmother, Harry Potter geek, Army veteran, and karate black belt.

Find Donna on:
Blog | Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTube | Google+

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Donna K. Weaver said...

Thanks, Elana. That was fun. And, yes, I do need to get going on at least that fantasy series. It does, after all, star my oldest granddaughter as the main characters (it's a portal fantasy). :D

Kriss Morton said...

Thanks so much for hosting Donna today, Elana! What a great interview!

Susanne Drazic said...


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